Mohammed VI of Morocco

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Mohammed VI
محمد السادس
ⵎⵓⵃⴰⵎⵎⴷ ⵙⴷⵉⵙ
Amir al-Mu'minin
King Mohammed VI (cropped).jpg
Mohammed V, 2016
King of Morocco
Reign23 July 1999 – present
PredecessorHassan II
Heir apparentMoulay Hassan
Prime Ministers
Born (1963-08-21) 21 August 1963 (age 57)
Rabat, Morocco
Spouse
(m. 2001)
Issue
Detail
Names
Sidi Mohammed Bin Hassan al Alaoui سيدي محمد بن الحسن العلوي
Arabic / Berberالملك محمد السادس / ⴰⴳⵍⵍⵉⴷ ⵎⵓⵃⴰⵎⵎⴷ ⵙⴷⵉⵙ
DynastyAlaouite
FatherHassan II of Morocco
MotherLalla Latifa Hammou
ReligionSunni Islam

Mohammed VI (Arabic: محمد السادس‎; Berber languages: ⴰⴳⵍⵍⵉⴷ ⵎⵓⵃⴰⵎⵎⴷ ⵙⴷⵉⵙ agllid muhammd sdis; born 21 August 1963)[1] is the King of Morocco. He belongs to the Alaouite dynasty and ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.[2]

Widespread disturbances in 2011, a Moroccan element of the Arab Spring, protested against corruption and urged the need for political reform. Leaked diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks have alleged extensive corruption in the court of King Mohammed VI, implicating the king and his closest advisors.[3] Prince Moulay Hicham of Morocco, the cousin of King Mohammed VI, criticized in his book The Banished Prince and in an interview with France 24 and BBC Arabic, describing King Mohammed VI as a predatory and illegitimate king, describing the Moroccan regime as authoritarian, undemocratic and illegitimate and does not represent the will of the Moroccan people. King Mohammed VI is the absolute monarch. Morocco is an authoritarian regime, where there are no democratic institutions, internal dissent is prohibited, and free voices are suppressed within the country. Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, who appoints the prime minister of the Moroccan state and appoints ministers and advisors, has great influence in Morocco. The king and his family monopolize the economy and trade through his holding companies, ONA Group, Siger and SNI. He monopolizes power, economy and politics in the religious aspect. The king describes himself as the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin), because in the Moroccan constitution the king has a duty to be revered and should not be criticized. Those who criticize the king are imprisoned with harsh sentences of up to twenty years. There are many criticisms of the king for exploiting the Islamic religion in his political work, Many experts and specialists in politics and human rights describe Mohammed VI and his family as an authoritarian regime that monopolizes power. The king and the Moroccan regime were subjected to many criticisms by international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, accusing the king and the Moroccan state, and calling on the Moroccan regime, the king and officials to respect human rights and freedoms. And stop the violation of the rights of the Moroccan people, while thousands of Moroccan opponents accused King Mohammed VI, his family and officials close to him of financial corruption, looting public money and smuggling it abroad, violating human rights and suppressing freedom of action. Expression, torture of opponents in secret prisons, impoverishment of the Moroccan people. While Morocco ranks last in human development, the Moroccan people are considered among the poorest peoples in the world, While the king and his family are among the richest royal families in the world, The king's net worth has been estimated at between US$2.1 billion[4] and over US$5 billion,[5][6] and, according to the American business magazine Forbes, he was the richest king in Africa in 2014, and the 5th richest king in the world.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Mohammed VI was the second child and oldest son of Hassan II and his secondary wife, Lalla Latifa Hammou.[8] On the day of his birth, Mohammed was appointed Heir Apparent and Crown Prince.[citation needed] His father was keen on giving him a religious and political education from an early age; at the age of four, he started attending the Quranic school at the Royal Palace.[1]

Mohammed VI completed his first primary and secondary studies at Collège Royal and attained his Baccalaureate in 1981, before gaining a bachelor's degree in law at the Mohammed V University at Agdal in 1985.[9] His research paper dealt with "the Arab-African Union and the Strategy of the Kingdom of Morocco in matters of International Relations".[1] He has also frequented the Imperial College and University of Rabat.[citation needed] He was furthermore appointed president of the Pan Arab Games, and was commissioned a Colonel Major of the Royal Moroccan Army on 26 November 1985. He served as the Coordinator of the Offices and Services of the Royal Armed Forces until 1994.[citation needed]

In 1987, Mohammed VI obtained his first Certificat d'Études Supérieures (CES) in political sciences, and in July 1988 he obtained a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) in public law.[1] In November 1988, he trained in Brussels with Jacques Delors, then-President of the European Commission.[1]

Mohammed VI obtained his PhD in law with distinction on 29 October 1993 from the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis for his thesis on "EEC-Maghreb Relations".[1] On 12 July 1994, he was promoted to the military rank of Major General, and that same year he became president of the High Council of Culture and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Moroccan Army.

The New York Times reported that prior to ascending to the throne, Mohammed VI "gained a reputation as a playboy during the years he spent waiting in the wings, showing a fondness for fast cars and nightclubs."[10]

King of Morocco[edit]

Mohammed VI (right) talking to US President George W. Bush in Washington on 23 April 2002
Mohammed VI with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014
Mohammed VI (left) with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2004
Mohammed VI (left) with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016
Joint U.S.-Israeli delegation met with Mohammed VI during visit to Rabat on 22 December 2020

On 23 July 1999, Mohammed VI succeeded his father as king and was enthroned in Rabat on 30 July.[citation needed]

Social reforms and liberalization[edit]

Shortly after he ascended to the throne, Mohammed VI addressed his nation via television, promising to take on poverty and corruption, while creating jobs and improving Morocco's human rights record. His reformist rhetoric was opposed by Islamist conservatives, and some of his reforms angered fundamentalists. In February 2004, he enacted a new family code, or Mudawana, which granted women more power.[11]

Mohammed VI also created the so-called Instance Equité et Réconciliation (IER), which was tasked with researching human rights violations under Hassan II. This move was welcomed by many as promoting democracy, but was also criticized because reports of human rights violations could not name the perpetrators. According to human rights organisations, widespread abuses still exist in Morocco.[12][13][14]

20 February Movement and constitutional reform[edit]

The 2011 Moroccan protests were motivated by corruption and general political discontentment, as well as by the hardships of the global economic crisis. The 20 February movement called for and resulted in partial reforms.

In a speech delivered on 9 March 2011, he said that parliament would receive "new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission". In addition, the powers of the judiciary were granted greater independence from the king, who announced that he was impaneling a committee of legal scholars to produce a draft constitution by June 2011.[15] On 1 July, voters approved a set of political reforms proposed by Mohammed VI.

Details on constitutional reform[edit]

The reforms consisted of the following:[16]

  • The Berber language[17] is an official national language, along with standard Arabic.[18]
  • The state preserves and protects the Hassānīya language and all the linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation.[18]
  • Mohammed VI now has the obligation to appoint the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections, but it can be any member of the winning party and not necessarily the party's leader. Previously, the king could nominate anybody he wanted for this position regardless of the election results. That was usually the case when no party had a big advantage over the other parties, in terms of the number of seats in the parliament.[16][19][20]
  • The king is no longer "sacred or holy" but the "integrity of his person" is "inviolable".[21]
  • High administrative and diplomatic posts (including ambassadors, CEOs of state-owned companies, provincial and regional governors), are now appointed by the prime minister and the ministerial council which is presided by the king; previously the latter exclusively held this power.[22][23]
  • The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.[24]
  • The prime minister will preside over the Council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.[24]
  • The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king.[25]
  • The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branches, the king guarantees this independence.[24][26]
  • Women are guaranteed "civic and social" equality with men. Previously, only "political equality" was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights before the law.[20]
  • The king retains complete control over the armed forces and the judiciary as well as matters pertaining to religion and foreign policy; the king also retains the authority to appoint and dismiss prime ministers.[27]
  • All citizens have the freedom of thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation. Previously only free speech and the freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed.[20][28] However, criticizing or directly opposing the king is still punishable with prison.

Foreign policy[edit]

Mohammed congratulated Naftali Bennett on his election as Israeli prime minister.[29] Israel and Morocco restored diplomatic relations on December 10, 2020, as part of the Israel–Morocco normalization agreement involving the United States, which at the same time recognized Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara.[30] The deal will include direct flights between the two nations.

Criticism[edit]

The Moroccan regime were subjected to many criticisms by international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, accusing the king and the Moroccan state, and calling on the Moroccan regime, the king and officials to respect human rights and freedoms.

Morocco ranks 121st in the United Nations’ human development index. Ten per cent of the population live in absolute poverty. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohammed VI was reported to have purchased an €80 million mansion in Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower, from the Saudi Royal family.[31]

Allegations of corruption[edit]

Royal involvement in business is a major topic in Morocco, but public discussion of it is sensitive. The US embassy in Rabat reported to Washington in a leaked cable that "corruption is prevalent at all levels of Moroccan society".[3] Corruption allegedly reaches the highest levels in Morocco, where the business interests of Mohammed VI and some of his advisors influence "every large housing project," according to WikiLeaks documents quoted in The Guardian newspaper.[32] The documents released by the whistleblower website also quote the case of a businessman working for a US consortium, whose plans in Morocco were paralysed for months after he refused to join forces with a company linked with the royal palace. Decisions on big investments in the kingdom were taken by only three people, the documents quote a company executive linked to the royal family as saying. The three are the king, his secretary Mounir Majidi, and the monarch's close friend, adviser and former classmate Fouad Ali Himma, the executive said at a meeting with potential investors in a Gulf country. This corruption especially affects the housing sector, the WikiLeaks documents show.[33]

In December 2010, the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables which alleged high-level corruption involving the king himself.[3]

In April 2016, Mounir Majidi, the personal secretary of Mohammed VI, was named in the Panama Papers.[34][35]

Royal pardon scandals[edit]

Protests broke out in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, on 2 August 2013, after Mohammed pardoned 48 jailed Spaniards, including a pedophile who had been serving a 30-year sentence for raping 11 children aged between 4 and 15.[36]

It was also revealed that amongst the pardoned was a drug trafficking suspect, who was released before standing trial.[37] The detainee, Antonio Garcia, a recidivist drug trafficker, had been arrested in possession of 9 tons of Hashish in Tangier and was sentenced to 10 years.[38] He had resisted arrest using a firearm.[37] Some media claimed that his release embarrassed Spain.[38]

Business and wealth[edit]

Graphic detailing ownership of the palace-controlled holding[39] the Société National d'investissement as of June 2013

Mohammed is Morocco's leading businessman and banker.[39] In 2015, he was estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth US$5.7bn[5] although in 2019 Business Insider quoted a figure of just US$2.1 billion.[4] The Moroccan Royal Family, meanwhile, has one of the largest fortunes in the world.[40] Together, they hold the majority stakes in the Société Nationale d'Investissement (SNI), which was originally state-owned but was merged in 2013 with Omnium Nord Africain (ONA Group), to form a single holding company that was taken off the Casablanca Stock Exchange—resulting in the scrapping of an equivalent of 50 billion Dirhams Marketcap (~US$6 billion).[41] SNI has a diverse portfolio consisting of many important businesses in Morocco and operating in various sectors such as; Attijariwafa Bank (banking), Managem (mining), Onapar, SOMED (tourism/real-estate and exclusive distributor of Maserati), Wafa Assurance (insurance), Marjane (hypermarket chain), Wana-Inwi (telecommunications), SONASID (Siderurgy), Lafarge Maroc (cSopriam (exclusive distributor of Peugeot-Citroën in Morocco), Renault Maroc (exclusive distributor of Renault in Morocco) and Nareva (energy).[42][43] SNI also owns many food-processing companies and is currently in the process of disengaging from this sector.[42] Between mid-2012 and 2013 SNI sold; Lessieur, Centrale Laitière, Bimo and Cosumar to foreign groups for a total amount of ~$1.37 billion (11.4 billion Dirhams including 9.7 billion in 2013 and 1.7 in 2012).[42]

SNI and ONA both owned stakes in Brasseries du Maroc, the largest alcoholic beverages manufacturer and distributor of brands such as Heineken in the country.[44]

Mohammed is also a leading agricultural producer and land owner in Morocco, where agriculture is exempted from taxes.[42] His holding company "Siger" has shares in the large agricultural group "Les domaines agricoles" (originally called "Les domaines royaux", now commonly known as "Les domaines"), which was founded by Hassan II.[42] In 2008, Telquel estimated that "Les domaines" had a revenue of $157 million (1.5 billion Dirhams), with 170,000 tons of citrus exported in that year.[42] According to the same magazine, the company officially owns 12,000 hectares of agricultural lands.[42] "Chergui", a manufacturer of dairy products, is the most recognizable brand of the group.[42] Between 1994 and 2004, the group has been managed by Mohammed VI's brother-in-law Khalid Benharbit, the husband of Princess Lalla Hasna.[42] "Les domaines" also owns the "Royal Golf de Marrakech", which originally belonged to Thami El Glaoui.[42]

His palace's daily operating budget is reported by Forbes to be $960,000—which is paid by the Moroccan state as part of a 2.576 billion Dirhams/year budget as of 2014[45]—with much of it accounted for by the expense of personnel, clothes, and car repairs.[40]

Family[edit]

Mohammed has one brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and three sisters: Princess Lalla Meryem, Princess Lalla Asma, and Princess Lalla Hasna. The New York Times noted "conflicting reports about whether the new monarch had been married on Friday night, within hours of his father's death [in 1999]... to heed a Moroccan tradition that a King be married before he ascends the throne." A palace official subsequently denied that a marriage had taken place.[10]

On 21 March 2002, Mohammed married Salma Bennani (now H.R.H. Princess Lalla Salma) in Rabat.[citation needed] Bennani was granted the personal title of Princess with the title of Her Royal Highness on her marriage. They have two children: Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, who was born on 8 May 2003, and Princess Lalla Khadija, who was born on 28 February 2007.[11]

Mohammed's birthday on 21 August is a public holiday,[46] although festivities were cancelled upon the death of his aunt in 2014.[47]

Children[edit]

Name Date of birth Place of birth Age
Crown Prince Moulay Hassan (2003-05-08)8 May 2003 Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco 18
Princess Lalla Khadija (2007-02-28)28 February 2007 Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco 14

Honours[edit]

Royal styles of
King Mohammed VI of Morocco
Coat of arms of Morocco.svg
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

National orders:

Mohammed has received numerous honours and decorations from various countries, some of which are listed below.

Foreign orders:

On 22 June 2000, Mohammed received an honorary doctorate from George Washington University.[60]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "King Mohammed Ben Al-Hassan". Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco. Archived from the original on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  2. ^ "World: Africa Mohammed VI takes Moroccan throne". BBC News. 24 July 1999. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Black, Ian (6 December 2010). "WikiLeaks cables accuse Moroccan royals of corruption". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b Hoffower, Hillary. "Meet the 10 richest billionaire royals in the world right now". Business Insider.
  5. ^ a b "2015 Africa's 50 Richest Net Worth: #5 King Mohammed VI". Forbes. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  6. ^ Mfonobong, Nsehe (27 February 2018). "King Mohammed VI Of Morocco Undergoes Heart Surgery In Paris". Forbes. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  7. ^ "The 5 richest kings in Africa". forbes.com. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  8. ^ (24 July 1999).Morocco's King Hassan dies, aged 70, Independent Online (South Africa)
  9. ^ "Biography of HM. King MohammedVI", Maroc.ma.
  10. ^ a b "In Morocco, Too, a Young King for a New Generation" New York Times, 27 July 1999
  11. ^ a b "Morocco country profile". BBC News. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  12. ^ MacFarquhar, Neil (1 October 2005). "In Morocco, a Rights Movement, at the King's Pace". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  13. ^ Harter, Pascale (19 April 2005). "Facing up to Morocco's hidden fear". BBC News. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Morocco/Western Sahara: Amnesty International welcomes public hearings into past violations". Amnesty International. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  15. ^ Mohammed VI speech. Moroccansforchange.com (9 March 2011). Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  16. ^ a b BBC News (29 June 2011). "Q&A: Morocco's referendum on reform". Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  17. ^ A standardized version of the 3 native Berber dialects of Morocco: Tashelhit, Central Atlas Tamazight and Tarifit.
  18. ^ a b Article 5 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  19. ^ Article 47 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  20. ^ a b c 1996 Moroccan constitution
  21. ^ Article 46 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  22. ^ Article 91 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  23. ^ Article 49 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  24. ^ a b c AFP. "Maroc: la réforme constitutionnelle préconise de limiter certains pouvoirs du roi". Parisien. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  25. ^ Article 71 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  26. ^ Article 107 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution.
  27. ^ Voice of America (30 July 2011). "Moroccan King Calls for Prompt Parliamentary Elections". Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  28. ^ Driss Bennani, Mohammed Boudarham and Fahd Iraqi. "nouvelle constitution. plus roi que jamais". Telquel. Archived from the original on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  29. ^ "Morocco's king congratulates PM Bennett, vows to promote peace in region". i24NEWS. 16 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Hamas chief meets top politicians in Morocco after Gaza conflict". Swissinfo. 17 June 2021.
  31. ^ Bremner, Charles (9 October 2020). "King Mohammed of Morocco buys French mansion for €80 million". The Times. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  32. ^ "US embassy cables: Moroccan sacking exposes king's business role". The Guardian. 6 December 2010.
  33. ^ "US embassy cables: Moroccan businessman reveals royal corruption, claims US cable". The Guardian. 6 December 2010.
  34. ^ "Panama Papers: The Power Players". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  35. ^ "Mohammed VI aime les îles Vierges" Le Monde, 04 April 2016
  36. ^ Yaakoubi, Aziz El. (3 August 2013) Moroccan police break up protest against royal pardon of Spanish pedophile. Reuters.com. Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  37. ^ a b "DanielGate. Un détenu espagnol gracié 48h avant le début de son procès !". Lakome. 7 August 2013. Archived from the original on 11 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  38. ^ a b "DanielGate. Pourquoi la thèse du cabinet royal ne tient plus". Lakome. 11 August 2013. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  39. ^ a b GREENE (24 April 2008). "MOROCCAN ROYAL FAMILY HOLDING ONA FIRES CEO". Consulate Casablanca. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  40. ^ a b Pendleton, Devon; Serafin, Tatiana (30 August 2007). "In Pictures: The World's Richest Royals". Forbes.
  41. ^ Iraqi, Fahd; Mehdi Michbal (14 June 2013). "SNO - Le nouveau visage du business royal". Telquel. Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tounassi, Fédoua (12 December 2008). "Enquête. Les jardins du roi". Telquel. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  43. ^ Ahmed Reda Benchemsi; Fahd Iraqi (18 July 2009). "Le Businessman" (PDF). TelQuel. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  44. ^ SQALLI, Nouaim (3 January 2006). "Bourse: Les filiales de l'ONA boostent le marché de blocs". l'Economiste. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  45. ^ Benseddik, Ahmed (12 November 2013). "Benkirane a bien augmenté le budget royal de " Sidna "". Demain Online. Archived from the original on 14 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  46. ^ "Morocco Official, Public and National Holidays". Morocco.com. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  47. ^ "title". Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  48. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado. (PDF) . Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  49. ^ "HONORARY KNIGHTS AND DAMES". www.leighrayment.com. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  50. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado. (PDF) . Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  51. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z HM King Mohammed VI. map.ma
  52. ^ Quirinale website. Quirinale.it. Retrieved on 25 July 2016.
  53. ^ a b "ENTIDADES ESTRANGEIRAS AGRACIADAS COM ORDENS PORTUGUESAS - Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas". www.ordens.presidencia.pt. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  54. ^ Quirinale website. Quirinale.it. Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  55. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado. (PDF) . Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  56. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado. (PDF) . Retrieved on 22 July 2015.
  57. ^ (Wam). "Morocco King honoured with Order of Zayed - Khaleej Times". www.khaleejtimes.com. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  58. ^ "King Mohammed VI Awarded Grand Cross of the Order of La Pleiade". Morocco World News. 25 May 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  59. ^ "Awarding of the Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, to His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco". whitehouse.gov. 16 January 2021 – via National Archives.
  60. ^ "His Majesty The King Mohammed VI". Embassy of the kingdom of Morocco to United States of America. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013.

External links[edit]

Mohammed VI
Born: 21 August 1963
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Hassan II
King of Morocco
1999–present
Incumbent
Heir apparent:
Moulay Hassan